Archive for the 'State Information' Category

Feb 16 2013

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

In America Veterans Day is an annual holiday honoring military veterans. Both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states, it is usually observed on November 11th. However, if it occurs on a Sunday then the following Monday is designated for holiday leave, and if it occurs Saturday then either Saturday or Friday may be so designated.Veterans Day is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world.

Nashville National Cemetery

Nashville National Cemetery

© 2013 photo courtesy L Watts

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Nov 17 2008

Indian Blanket Flower

Indian Blanket Flower

‘Gaillardia pulchella’

The Indian Blanket Flower also known as the Firewheel or the Sundance flower, is the official state wild flower of the State of Oklahoma. It blooms practically year-round in some warm areas, but more typically in summer to early fall. Legend states; the blanket flower was once all yellow and was a favorite of the Aztec Indians, years ago, young Aztec women would decorate their hair with crowns of the golden flowers. When Cortez came to their land and killed those who were living there peacefully, the much loved flower “caught the blood of the innocents as they fell”…..and to this day the red stains remain on the flower.

indian blanket flower in bloom

indian blanket flower in bloom

© 2007 photo courtesy L Watts

Blanket flowers are easy to grow from seed. The seeds can be sewed in early Spring and will bloom that same Summer. These hearty flowers thrive in much of central United States, all the way from northern Mexico to southern Canada. From the daisy family, the blanket flower petals are exquisite, each petal in itself is a flower, the colors are vivid and there are several color varieties available. The beauty of each individual flower is timeless, but a large patch of Indian Blanket flowers is a sight to behold.

© 2008 oodles of infOrmation

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Oct 24 2008

Soapweed Yucca

Soapweed Yucca

Indian Soap weed plant




The Soapweed Yucca is also known as the Great Plains Yucca, the Spanish bayonet and beargrass. The Soapweed Yucca is a perennial native plant and was very useful to Native Americans and early homesteaders. This Yucca is called soapweed because the roots were commonly ground down and used to make a mild soap and shampoo. The saponin compound found in the root is what gives it a detergent / soapy property.

Historically, similar to many other native plants, almost every part of the yucca was exploited. There are over 40 species found all over the states.
The roots were used for soap. The tips of the spines of the strong fibrous leaves were fashioned as needles for sewing and the leaves were used for making twine and string. It was not uncommon to have household items such as mats, baskets and brushes made from Yucca fibers. The fibers were also used to make sandals and other clothing items.

soapweed yucca

soapweed yucca

© 2007 photo courtesy L Watts

As you can see in the yucca in Winter photo below, the spines of the soapweed yucca have a concave gutter like upper surface that helps to catch melting snow and rain keeping the plants roots moist. The largest yucca is the Joshua tree ‘Yucca brevifolia’. This Yucca can reach a height of forty feet. Yuccas can survive long periods of time without a lot of water and grows wild in the deserts of California, Nevada and Arizona. The yucca plant is dependent upon the Yucca moth for its survival and perpetuation of yucca plants. Yucca plants are the only known host plants for yucca moths. Yucca moths remain inside the flowers during the day for protection, because the flowers petals stay closed during the day and only open at night for the moths to mate and pollinate the plant.




soapweed yucca in winter

soapweed yucca in winter

© 2007 photo courtesy L Watts

Parts of this amazing plant are even edible !
Before the plant flowers, the stalks which actually resemble asparagus, were harvested and cooked. The new seed pods were harvested, roasted, peeled and then eaten. The mature seed pods were ground into a pulpy flour. The spines, flowers and roots were also used to make medicinal hot teas. This plant was thought to have been helpful in reducing inflammation and swelling.

© 2008 oOdles of InfOrmation

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